UniCities Meeting: Learn about the visit of Ukrainian and Swedish organizations to Madrid

Over three days, from October 31 to November 2, the itdUPM hosted a gathering that brought together entities and individuals from Sweden and Ukraine involved in the UniCities project. This initiative, driven by the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden (KTH), the UPM, and multiple universities and civil entities in Ukraine, aims to achieve a climate-neutral and equitable reconstruction of Ukrainian cities, aligning with the European Mission “100 Climate-Neutral Cities by 2030.” This event, marked as a milestone in the project, provided an opportunity to share working experiences among Spain, Ukraine, and Sweden.

On the first day, sessions focused on highlighting collaboration between institutions, led by Carlos Mataix, director of the itdUPM, and representatives from the Madrid City Council. Projects such as CitiES2030, Madrid 360 Strategy, and Alianza Shire were presented as examples where different sectors of society come together to collaborate towards a common goal. Additionally, UPM professors Javier Mazorra and Jaime Moreno, along with researchers Irene Ezquerra and Nayla Saniour from the itdUPM, explained how the center has driven systemic collaboration initiatives with social impact. The day concluded at Madrid Río, showcasing the positive effects of this renaturalization initiative on public space and the well-being of citizens and the environment.

During the morning of the second day, working sessions focused on strengthening collaboration between universities and cities. Concrete examples were presented, such as the collaboration between Chernihiv Polytechnic National University and the local government on transportation and housing issues. There was also a thorough analysis of experiences linking these two types of actors. In the afternoon, an (Un) Likely dialogue was moderated by Olga Kordas, a professor at KTH and director of Viable Cities, involving representatives from Ukrainian organizations. The goal was to explore how to foster collaboration, knowledge exchange, and partnerships to drive another possible reconstruction of Ukrainian cities.

The third day began with a workshop titled “Challenge-oriented Education and Student Engagement,” facilitated by Oleksii Pasichnyi from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. This session delved into the establishment of university-city collaboration centers in Ukraine, exploring ideas and reflections for implementation.

On the last day, the group visited the city of Valencia. The first stop was at the Universitat Politècnica de València, attending a presentation on collaboration models between the city and university. Later, they visited the Las Naves Center for Social and Urban Innovation, an organization leading the Valencia 2030 Missions initiative. The objective was to gain an in-depth understanding of the center’s project aimed at promoting a healthier and more sustainable city for its residents.

“For me personally, the visit was very fruitful. The places we visited were very inspiring, and I hope we can partially apply the Spanish experience in our work. The space, interaction style, and positive atmosphere provided me with new ideas for my university work, especially those related to interdepartmental cooperation and interdisciplinary teaching,” expressed Hanna Dyvnych, a representative of Chernihiv Polytechnic National University.